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Friday, June 14, 2013

emoticon QOTD: What are some of your favorite freggies and how do you eat/prepare them? Any tips or tricks?

This question speaks to my soul, so please indulge my long-winded response. Today’s tips are about hearty greens like kale, Swiss chard, and collards. Often referred to as “cooking greens,” many of them are delicious raw. They are among my many favorite vegetables, and my goal is to eat at least one of them every day. Greens, especially collard greens, are a great source of calcium. Lightly cooking them and pairing them with citrus or tomatoes helps your body absorb the calcium. I am always amazed by how much these big leafed greens cook down – 8 cups of Swiss chard doesn’t seem like very much at all for a pasta dish once it has cooked down.

To clean greens, put them in a sink filled with tepid (not hot) water and swish them around; tepid water works better than cold. There is a lot of dirt in greens especially kale and chard, and it will fall to the bottom of the sink. Take the greens out of the water and drain them. Don't pull the plug on the sink before you remove the greens - that will defeat the purpose. Blot the greens dry with towels if you don't have an hour or so to let them drain dry in a large colander. (Towels are your best friends in the kitchen. Stock up on inexpensive bar towels, and use lots of them frequently.)

When the greens are fairly dry, remove the stems and center ribs – they don’t need to be completely dry. You don’t need to use your knife; just hold the stem end in one hand and slide your other hand down the center like this
Swiss chard is more delicate, and some people find the stems and center ribs quite tasty after some extra cooking time - unlike the tough stems and center ribs of turnip, mustard, and collard greens and all varieties of kale. Sometimes I use the chard stems and ribs in soup, but I usually discard them. For removing the center stems from Swiss chard, I sometimes use a knife
Follow the technique in this link to stack and cut the leaves of all of the green varieties into ribbons or bite-sized pieces. If you don’t need ribbon cuts, you can just tear the leaves with your hands. It’s good stress reduction therapy!

Try to buy very fresh greens and use them as soon as possible – when possible, always buy organic for best flavor and quality. When I choose collard greens, I prefer to get medium leaf size bunches because they aren’t bitter. Packaged and frozen collard greens are produced from more mature leaves and tend to be bitter, a quality I have never developed a taste for (even though I grew up in the South). My favorite way to use collard greens is in an amazing vegetarian curry I developed recipes.sparkpeop
Always add greens to your dish at the end of the cooking time and cook just long enough to wilt them. That prevents the loss of flavor and color.

The greens mentioned above are the ones I cook with most often, but there are many, many more – a whole world of greens awaits your attention and love. Don’t know kohlrabi greens from bok choy? No problem! And of course, we can’t leave Popeye’s spinach unmentioned! Here’s a visual guide that includes recipe links

PS Here's a really informative video about the whole process from buying to serving from North Carolina State University
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • DS9KIE
    yummy greens...thanks for the great ideas...they were very helpful
    1008 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/21/2014 11:19:55 AM
  • DS9KIE
    great ideas
    1226 days ago
  • ANU_20
    Great Blog Patt!! ...Your passion for Healthy food is clearly visible..Thank you so much for sharing such great information. Looking forward to more! :)
    1226 days ago
    A close friend of my mine was talking about swiss chard to me yesterday and now I read your post today. I think it's time for me try swiss chard. Thanks for sharing.
    1229 days ago
    This was great!
    I love my greens too, but I obviously haven't had as much exposure to them as you.
    I planted mustard greens and swiss chard in my garden this year. I will be sure to give you a shout when I'm ready for harvest. emoticon
    1229 days ago
    I LOVE veggies in any way shape or form. Green beans are one of my faves - fresh raw to crunch on, drained straight from the can (maybe with some poppy seed or ranch dressing), frozen and cooked with just a touch of salt...I'm so glad my grandson also loves veggies. He'll eat a tomato as soon as an apple!
    Blessings to you on this journey to a healthy lifestyle.
    1229 days ago
    Thank you for the info
    1229 days ago
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